Torchwood: Children of Earth - Day Two

Category: , , , By Rev/Views

"We're looking for Ianto Jones!"
"You're not going to find him in my bed. I'm a married man!"

Torchwood: Children of Earth Day Two is available on the BBC iPlayer here. No complaints about any spoilers which follow then.

I was half tempted to subtitle this episode review "Nothing Happens" instead of Day Two, annoyingly after a great (amazing by Torchwood standards) opening episode Day two appeared to be little more than exposition, more bum cloud mystery fogging up the cool stuff and I shit you not - a ride in the back of a potato truck. If you'd told me yesterday that Gwen and Rhys were going to spend scenes in the back of an articulated lorry delivering King Edward potatos from Cardiff to London I wouldn't have believed you. For a start, Cardiff doesn't deliver potatos to London! They should have snuck onto a coach filled with rugby fans or soccer hooligans, that I could have bought. But also it just sounds too low tech and frankly stupid for Torchwood - is this why the Torchwood Mystery Machine was stolen by chavs? Just to set up a potato run? And no comparisons between Rhys and a sack of potatos, Rhys is brilliant.

Now I will officially and figuratively eat my hat if classic Doctor Who villains turn up in that poison fog box which was set up at the end. It better had be something pretty monumental turning up in that cloud of gas before the end of the next episode or I'm going to print out a picture of the Torchwood team find something breakable to throw and hurl them at each other on fire*.

It wasn't that the episode was bad, it was just - well nothing really happened. I'm used to slow paced shows like The Wire or Six Feet Under, but they bouy up their slow pacing with deep characterisation and meaningful conversations. Torchwood instead used a few cheap laughs, lots of establishing shots and some vague and mysterious conversations to pad things out.

Maybe I'm being overly harsh because Torchwood is being directly compared to The Shield in my TV world right now and there's pretty much no show which comes off well when placed next to The Shield (Apart from The Wire) - but I can't help but feel the show would do a lot better if they learnt a little about pacing. I find myself watching four scenes in The Shield and thinking "Has it only been three minutes?" I found myself watching the whole of that episode and thinking "Is that it? Nothing has happened!" Which is kind of incredible when you think about the amount of (low) octane action and gun play stuffed into the episode. There was lots of (unconvincing) gunfire (seriously please teach Eve how to fire an gun TV style someone - and use less plastic looking weapons at the same time, a big shiny hand cannon would do), plenty of running about and another appearance of 'the gizmo' but beyond all of that shine there was little substance.

Once again Torchwood themselves are left to look a foolish and stupid - a lot. They spend much of the episode running about headless and surviving thanks to dumb luck; so it's up to the non-members of the team to get things done. Ianto's family, Rhys and Lois in this case shoulder a lot of the burden called 'having a plan or a good idea'.

While you might like to think "At least they got Captain Jack back" I'm hesitant to call their breakout plan a good one because it seems Ianto formed his plan of "I'll just drive a digger, steal concrete Jack and then drop him off a cliff" independently from Gwen and Rhys's 'Operation Body snatcher' - (Ok, I'll admit it, that was amusing). I can't see how the two plans were linked at all, even Gwen shouting "What kept you" at Ianto doesn't cover up her surprise at the concrete room, which Ianto already knew about.

It seems the main weapon of Torchwood is stupidty and dumb luck, I mean the two main weapons of Torchwood are... You can see where I'm going with that one can't you?

On the whole I didn't hate the episode, but honestly I didn't really like it either. It sort of just occupied space and time. Filling in an hour of my day with a semi-exciting mix of humdrum. Considering how much the first episode had improved this second one is a bit of a let down. Hopefully the third episode will bring the aliens in, spice things up and provide us with at least a little explanation of what's happening. It's all very well running around blowing up things, but occasionally it's nice to know the WHY and a bit more of the who (not Who).

Must try harder Torchwood.

Random Thoughts:

Clem McDonald wandering about the streets made me think of Father Ted. I believe it's the cardigan they've stuck him in which makes me think of Father Jack. Shame Father Ted isn't on the TV anymore to spoof it properly.

The 456 sound like they could be a gang from The Shield, if they arrive wearing bandannas and packing Mac 9's we'll know they are.

Jack's role in this episode was pretty funny by all accounts. First of all he's scattered across the ground like the Iron Giant, then he reassembles himself like Doctor Manhattan by 'inflating' himself inside the body bag and then he gets sealed in concrete and dropped off a cliff before striding off naked. For the record I don't care how much you might like John Barrowman, his arse is not his best feature - it's very flat in shape.

I was not impressed with Gwen shooting the cement truck and having it burst into flame. That was unnecessary and unrealistic. Just dumping the truck in the way and stealing the keys would do the job. The flames were a little too much.

For those keeping count so far we've had:
Four Captain Jack snuffs
Three naked man bums
Several thousand potatos

*What's on fire you ask? The picture, the breakable object and myself I think should suffice.

For an alternative take check out Snark and Fury and Dan's Media Digest. Others to be added here when they're written up.


1 comment so far.

  1. Ben Halbert 8 July 2009 at 14:45
    I cannot help but say that "You're not going to find him in my bed. I'm a married man!" was the highlight of the episode for me.

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